Despite losing millions, PBA prioritizes safety

Delfin Dioquino
Despite losing millions, PBA prioritizes safety
PBA commissioner Willie Marcial says earning big won't be worth it if someone from the PBA family or a fan gets infected by the coronavirus

MANILA, Philippines – Suspending the season due to the coronavirus has taken its toll on the PBA as the league continues to suffer financial losses. 

It has been more than a week since the PBA canceled its games and commissioner Willie Marcial said he expects the season to be shelved for at least two months before players return to the hardcourt.

“Overall, we will lose a lot of money. Millions,” Marcial told Rappler in a mix of Filipino and English through a phone call. 

Despite not delving into the exact numbers, Marcial said all departments – from advertisements to ticket sales – are affected. 

“It’s a domino effect. It’s not just one aspect. Everything took a hit.” 

But for Marcial and the rest of the PBA, losing millions is a sacrifice they have to make to ensure the safety of their players, staff, and fans. 

“Even if you earn big, if there’s one person who gets infected, it’s not worth it. We’re not about what the league will lose, what’s important is we’re all safe.” 

“By God’s grace, I haven’t heard someone from the PBA family who has contracted the virus. That’s what I’ve been praying – that no one from the PBA family and our fans gets infected,” Marcial said. 

With the number of coronavirus cases in the country rising to over 200, the two-week ban on team practices, which will end on March 27, could be extended. 

“We might not allow teams to practice [after March 27] so we’ll see in the coming days what move we’re going to make,” Marcial said.  –

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.